Masters Men

Flat Fix Basics

June 26th, 2019 by Marie Dershem

Flat Tire Basics

Written by Ros Difalco

Nobody wants to think about the possibility of a flat tire while out enjoying time on their bicycle. In reality, if you are going to ride regularly, it’s really more a matter of “when” not “if” when it comes to flatting. So, when you do get a flat, you have a few options. First, you can annoy your friends and family and get a ride back to your house. Second, you can walk (from experience, probably not a great option!). Third is your best shot: FIX THE FLAT WHILE ON THE ROAD!

Let’s go over the things you should carry while riding to fix most flats. There are different ways people carry the necessities, but here are my recommendations.

First, carry a saddlebag. Many people like to stash their change kits in their jersey pockets, but I prefer the saddlebag. If I have to stock my back pockets each ride I am likely to forget something or leave something out due to laziness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In your saddlebag you should carry a

  1. spare tube (the correct specifications to match your tire width, wheel diameter, and rim depth). I like to keep the spare tube wrapped up in a plastic bag to prevent it from getting holes while rubbing against tools.
  2. 1-2 tire levers. Not being able to get a tire on or off is extremely frustrating.
  3. C02 inflator (2 of these, just in case the first doesn’t go to plan).
  4. Multi-tool (though you don’t need it for the tire fix)
  5. Optional: There’s a new thing I have been adding to my saddlebags the last few years. A few brands make stickers to patch holes in tubes. DISCLAIMER: these should be used as a last resort if your spare tube is punctured or if you get a double flat (two flat tires in one ride).

Now let’s get on to your flat tire! In our hypothetical situation, you are riding down the road when you feel the tell tale squirmy/squishy ride characteristics of a flat tire. Now you might be tempted to keep riding but please don’t! Pull over somewhere off the road and check the tire for air pressure. You don’t want to damage your rim by riding with a flat tire.

Fixing a flat tire requires that you remove your wheel from the bike. Most bikes have a quick release axle, but if your bike doesn’t, make sure to carry the tools to remove your wheel. You also need to know how to open up brake pads on many bikes to get the tire to fit but we won’t cover that topic here due to the various types of brakes.

Now that your wheel is removed, you need to make sure the tube is fully deflated. This is good time to explain that most bikes have both a tire and a tube. The tube is what holds the air in the tire. The tube is what we want to replace/patch. To get to the tube we must remove the tire. Tires may be stuck to the rim via the bead.

Using your hands, push the tire to the center of the rim bed. Do this all the way around the rim. Getting the tire to the center will give you the space to get the tire over the lip of the rim. Once the tire is moved to the center of the rim, get your tire levers. Pry the tire over the rim. Only pry one side of the tire off of the rim. Now you should be able to remove the tube from the rim.

Next, look at the tube and see if you can determine what punctured it. You also want to GENTLY run your fingers in the inside of the tire to make sure there aren’t any thorns or objects stuck in it. If you install your new tube with a thorn in your tire you will instantly get another flat. Now, unwrap your tube and put the valve through the valve hole on the rim and lay the tube around the diameter of the tire. We now have to get the tire back on without puncturing the tube. With your hands, work the tire back on the rim until can no longer go further. At this point, get your tire levers back out. You need to pry the tire the rest of the way on the rim. BE SUPER CARFUL NOT TO PINCH THE TUBE WHILE DOING THIS!

Now that the tire is back on the rim, it’s time to inflate it and get riding again. Tighten the C02 on the inflator to break the seal. Make sure the valve on the tube is open and press the inflator firmly against the valve and release the compressed air. It will feel very cold but do not let off until the C02 is empty. Your tire should now be full of air! Make sure to tighten the valve on the tube. At this point you can put your wheel back on your bike and tighten up your axle.

Before closing, here are a few pieces of advice I would give to avoid getting flats in the first place. Use a quality tire that is up to the riding you are planning. I have made this mistake and the right tire makes all the difference. It’s also worth noting that when a tire gets worn out its puncture resistance is greatly reduced. Cheap tubes can be the cause of flat tires when the valve stem becomes unbounded from the rubber so decent tubes are important. If your bike setup allows it, going tubeless with sealant can offer a more trouble free ride as well. Whatever you decide to use, get familiar with your bike and be prepared for any flats you may encounter.


Top 5 Things Learned at This Year’s Training Camp

June 6th, 2019 by Marie Dershem

Written by Terry Ritter

This season’s North Carolina Training Camp had great weather and terrific riding. There was a newer rider flare to this edition, with ’19 team additions Ross DiFalco and Jared Dunham joining myself and fellow seasoned Team Athletic Mentor riders Elaine Sheikh, Bobby Munro, and Kellen Caldwell. Dan Caldwell, Kellen’s father, also spent part of the week with us, and Scott Hoffner made his usually trip up from Winston Salem to ride for a few days.  Second year team rider Tim Coffey attends Brevard College and got a chance to log about an hour with a few of us before some bad luck changed his preseason.

Though this marked the 19th time in the last 21 years I’ve put together a cycling excursion to jump start the season, I am always entertained by the new things I learn (or relearned) each year. Here’s my top five list from this year.

Tubeless tires require different attention in the off-season…

 Last season I mounted up some tubeless tires and sealant and enjoy the benefits of that set up for training. However, I didn’t give much thought to how I’d store these hoops over the winter, just hanging them like my tubed arrangements of the past. The first road ride of the trip happened to be the Mt. Mitchell ascent, an 87 mile day with over 9000 feet of climbing. The first time the bike rolled over 25 mph I noted an imbalance in the front wheel. After checking the bead and seeing it was seated appropriately, my brain started working on what the issue could be. That’s when I remembered I had to pump the tire up as I noticed it had deflated to the degree the bead had lost the airtight seal over the winter. I quickly speculated the air had dried out the sealant, which had collected in the bottom of the tire as it hung, and was now a solid, non-movable mass throwing things off. This was confirmed once I got the tire off and had an 8 cm strip of solid sealant affixed to one side of the tire. Removing this and remounting the tire with new sealant solved the hop. From here on out I’ll be removing sealant from my tires before I mount them for off season storage (though you could just keep them aired up to stay sealed as well).

Simple Math…

 After hitting the Parkway and descending down 215, we came to a stop and discovered Jared’s crank was coming loose. It had been creaking for 2 hours. Unfortunately, his crank bolt was a 10mm, and none of our multi-tools had anything bigger than an 8mm. That’s when I remember a trick Dan Yankus taught me at the ’16 camp. We took one of the multi-tools apart to get the 6 and 4mm allen wrenches free, then placed them side-by-side in the bolt head (6 + 4 = 10mm). We then used one of the other tools 8mm to fit into the loop of the paired allens and twisted it till the bolt was sufficiently tight to get us home.

Technology is great if you know how to use it…

 At our ’17 camp, Kaitlyn Patterson was able to construct a route within DuPont State Forest from a friend’s map, and then download that to her Garmin. She shared that route with me last year when she wasn’t able to attend and we followed the 3 hour tour without issue. This year was not as successful, as I led us around for about 90 mins before we ended up back near the finish. Seems I didn’t realize the Garmin has a turn-by-turn arrow that will let me know where I’m supposed to be heading when my screen shows route crossing over themselves. Later in the week I figured this out and we tried the route again, with it working flawlessly.

 Would you like that spoke straight or curved…

 As we rode up Mt. Mitchell, my rear Giant wheel broke its first spoke (4 years of riding on it). The DT Swiss rim stayed pretty true and I didn’t have any issues finish the ride. However, I didn’t have any of the straight pull replacements (nor did any of the local shops). A little brainstorming had Ross, Jared and I using the gas stove to warm the spoke (actually, it had to glow) and then used a couple of pairs of needle-nose pliers to straighten a J bend from a conventional spoke I did have. Unfortunately, the spoke was still too short to use, but it gave me a potential emergency option if I have this challenge in the future.

Being prepared means less stress…

 I’ve preached this to all my camp attendees each year. However, this season things got away from me as I was getting ready for camp (Jared, Ross and I took my vehicle) and so decided I’d need to do a little work when I got down to NC. This could well have been fine until some unexpected things happened (spoke, tire sealant), and also unexpected time to help others. I ended up being a bit too busy to really relax as much and recover as much as I should have. My teammates were gracious with their patience, but this was my own fault and something I would have helped entirely if I’d gotten everything done on my equipment at home before I pointed my van south.

These trips are always a lot of fun. We get some great training in, enjoy some relaxation, learn about our new teammates, and pick up some additional wisdom. It makes me wonder what I’ll learn next year.

 

 

 

 

 


Traumatic Injury Life Saving Tips

March 8th, 2019 by Marie Dershem

Written by Dawn Hinz

Sadly it seems there are more car versus cyclist accidents. In 2006, 772 people were fatally injured in cycling accidents. Where as in 2016, that number was up to 840; including 5 local cyclists. (NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts)

We do everything we can as a cyclist to minimize the danger. We wear bright clothes, our bikes look like Christmas trees and most importantly, we follow the rules of the road. Unfortunately that doesn’t guarantee that we aren’t seriously injured. What should you do if tragedy strikes you or your group?

  • Everyone should carry a cell phone on their body. I do not agree with keeping your phone in a bag on your bike. If you are thrown from your bike you may not be able to reach your phone.
  • KNOW WHERE YOU ARE. You should know your route and where you are along that route. This way when you call 911, emergency personnel can find you as quickly as possible, when every minute counts. Go one step further and set up an activity tracker that relays your location to a reliable person who is not a part of the ride. This way they get a notification if you stop moving and can call for help.
  • Know how many people are in your group. 911 will need to know how many patients need an ambulance. Then, go help your friends. You should know any help you render will be covered under Michigan’s Good Samaritan Act (MCL 691.1501). This law basically states that a volunteer trying to help someone cannot be held liable if those actions cause further injury; excepting gross negligence.
  • Do not move someone unless the location causes further danger or harm. I.e. Perhaps you need to slide someone off the road if traffic is not slowing down or giving you space.
  • Do not unnecessarily adjust the patient’s head. If you hear snoring, gurgling or no breaths then gently place the head in a “sniffing” position.
  • If you see blood, control the bleeding with direct and continuous pressure. Put your hand or hands over the wound and keep pressure on the wound until help arrives. Every red blood cell counts.
  • If it is cold or even slightly chilly outside keep the patient warm if possible. Hypothermia causes shivering which wastes precious ATP. Even slight hypothermia will worsen a trauma patient’s outcome. Give them your jacket or get blankets from bystanders.

With these actions you have given your friends a fighting chance in the Emergency Room. If you would like to take it one step further then it is time to find a First Aid and CPR class. Stay safe out there.


What is the deal with “Cross”?

November 13th, 2018 by Marie Dershem

What’s the deal with “Cross”?

If you haven’t experienced cyclocross firsthand, you may be wondering why anyone would want to participate in such an event. If you aren’t familiar with cyclocross, imagine riding your bike as fast as you can, but throwing in every type of element that would make it more difficult to do so – grass, sand, mud, stairs, even barriers (think short hurdles). OK, this may sound a little crazy, but it’s also one of the fastest growing crazes in cycling.

 

 

 

 

So what is cyclocross (a.k.a. CX)?

Cyclocross was created Belgium as a fun way to keep cyclists riding in the winter months. Today’s cyclocross events are timed events, typically between 30-60 minutes that take place on relatively short (1-2 mile) circuits, most often in parks. The circuits typically contain a mix of grass, gravel, mud, sand, and pavement with some features that require riders to dismount and run with their bikes for a short period of time. Those who are serious CXers are riding cyclocross specific bikes, spending time dialing in their tire pressure for the conditions and look smooth and efficient getting on and off their bikes. For most of us, however, CX offers one of the easiest and most laid-back environments to try a bike race. In most CX races, competitors can (and do) use either a cyclocross specific bike or a mountain bike. Races are categorized (USAC Cat 1-5 or Beginner/Sport/Expert). Beginner races last only 30-minutes and tend to be much more laid back than their road race cousins. Because of their history as a fun way to spend the winter, cyclocross races often include competitors wearing costumes and a fair share of heckling on the course.

In other bike racing events, riders have to fight hard to “stay with the group” to take advantage of the drafting advantages. In Cyclocross, racers are riding against the course almost as much as they are against their competitors. Most races are spread out within the first lap with riders going their own pace as they take on the challenge of riding the features on the course. Also, because of the nature of the courses, CX races involved multiple laps and are well-suited to spectators as racers can be viewed multiple times throughout the race (and since they are often in parks, often have playgrounds for really young spectators to enjoy).

If you’ve wondered what this cyclocross this is all about, find a local race and come check it out. They’re fun to watch, but even more fun to ride. Whether you want to heckle or pedal, it’s hard to beat cyclocross for some fun this fall. Here are some links to the local Cyclocross series in Michigan:

 

 


The “Professional” Athlete

April 13th, 2018 by Marie Dershem

One definition offered by the Merriam Webster dictionary defines the word professional as “characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession”. Further, it defines a profession as “a principal calling, vocation, or employment”, another way of saying a profession is a job. Seriousness of conduct is at a higher level then what one would approach with a hobby. Though we don’t race for a living, everyone on a team benefits from professionalism. Here are a few ways to be “professional” and how it positively impacts yourself and the team?

 

 

Sharp Dressed (Wo)man

Nothing says “conforming to the technical” like a group that looks the same. More than matching jerseys and bibs, a truly professional look includes socks, helmets, accessory equipment (glasses, gloves, shoe covers, bikes, etc.) and even cool weather wear. It’s imperative riders maintain a clean bike and kit. Team Athletic Mentors’ management puts a lot of attention and effort towards projecting a brand and we all have a role in that.

Take Pride in Your Team

A professionally run team establishes a vision and follows it. TAM has looked to develop riders. Some have gone on to higher ranks, like the ProTour, and even become nationa

l champions. As a member of the team, you are part of that legacy. When other riders see you, they see a team with high standards and a history of success. You have been chosen to continue an image, so take pride. This pride is not just racing or riding in your kit, but wearing the team casual wear during cycling and promotional events.

Team Mates and Sponsors First

Being professional means holding up your end of a bargain. Part of this is supporting the sponsors that provide resources to the team. Take every opportunity to promote sponsors’ products, keeping negative assessments within the team. Following through on your contractual agreements maintains the team’s ability to keep and hold sponsors. Think of your actions as reflecting those on your jersey and in your jersey.

Be an Ambassador

True professionals take responsibility to foster their livelihood. At our level, that means promoting the sport we love. Be approachable by strangers. Look to help more novice racers. Get in front of the camera. Most of us aren’t genetic freaks destine for greatness in cycling, but, rather, people passionate about a sport. Project that passion by supporting it any positive way so people see it means something to someone. People appreciate passion.

Make a Good First Impression

A professional conducts themselves at a high character level consistently. Sharp looking, organized teams get noticed, which makes the need to act your best even more important. Maintain an even keel during the heat of racing. Communicate with others through social media, in person, or other means, as if the spotlight was always on. This includes when giving our opinion with race officials and promoters. Don’t forget having your attire leave no doubt who you race for while on the podium.

Add Value to Your Team

A well run team has a lot of moving pieces. Those pieces working in concert are what make an organization better than the sum of its parts. Try to look for ways to help, even if it’s just to offer your assistance. Most athletes have an expertise in some area(s), even if it’s just time, that can benefit everyone. Few good things happen by chance, but through effort by someone that cared.

Support Your Team Mates

One quality of a good team is people want to be a part of it. This usually isn’t the clothes they get, bikes they ride or deals offered. It comes down to feeling part of something where they are supported. Giving assistance, passing on knowledge, watching a fellow team mate and cheering them on are part of this support. It’s always best to feel we can share our triumphs and tragedies.

It’s a privilege to be on any well run team, but especially ours. Show that appreciation by projecting a professional image and sportsmanship. Represent yourself, your team, and the sport of cycling well.


One of the best days of the year…

March 15th, 2018 by Marie Dershem

As a cyclist in Michigan, there are some monumental days on the calendar:

  1. Yankee Springs Time Trial – the opening of the MTB race season
  2. Barry-Roubaix – the largest and one of the most popular gravel road races in MI
  3. Race for the wishes – the road race that often serves as our state championship
  4. Alma GP of CX – the kick-off for cyclocrossers
  5. Iceman Cometh – the point-to-point MTB race that draws thousands of participants and a stacked pro field to Traverse City

Then there’s the day that every cyclist on a team looks forward to as much (or more) than these monuments of the Michigan cycling calendar . . . new kit arrival day! That’s right – the day that our new lycra arrives is one of the highlights of the year. This is especially true when your new kit is from Giordana.

I am anything but a professional racer, but as someone who logs between 7,000 – 8,000 miles on his bike each year, I most definitely have an appreciation for the equipment that makes my riding more comfortable and enjoyable.

Since joining Athletic Mentors cycling team, I have had the opportunity to wear Giordana gear. I anticipated the change from another brand to be difficult, but was pleasantly surprised by the quality, comfort, durability and aesthetic of our Giordana kit. When we head outside in the chilly morning in the Spring, the lined Roubaix line of bibs, jerseys and arm warmers are just right to keep me focused on my miles and not the air temperature. When the long rides of a hot summer afternoon hit, I have come to appreciate the breathability of the Scatto jerseys that allow enough ventilation to keep me feeling cool. Regardless of the weather, I most appreciate the comfort and quality of the chamois. I know, no one likes to talk about those parts, but if you are going to log serious miles, this becomes a critical contact point between cyclist and bike. I have been amazed not just at the comfort of the chamois, but the durability. With other brands, this critical component of the kit had a definite shelf life. I have yet to experience that with my Giordana chamois.

Finally, the aesthetic of the kit looks great. Whether I find myself logging some solo miles, riding in the peloton or on the those rare occasions I get to stand on a podium, I look forward to wearing my team colors in my Giordana kit. And I always look forward to new kit arrival day each spring . . .


Steps to Getting Better Sleep

February 1st, 2018 by Marie Dershem

In today’s culture, poor sleep is worn almost like a badge of honor. If you are a high achiever, whether in your job, with your family, or just trying to live a full life, sleep often takes a back seat to our attention. It’s the place often sacrificed to find more time in the day. However, science is showing time and again that better sleep is imperative to good health. Many don’t know that simple changes to the daily task of getting to sleep can help them feel more rested and ready to take on their day, and aid their long term health. Here are some steps to take for more effective rest.

Establish a Sleep Schedule

Many daily biological patterns are based off the body’s circadian rhythm. This system is cued into light and other waking stimuli, and best responds to a pattern of regularity. Set aside 7.5-8.5 hours to sleep each night. Try to retire at the same time, rising around the same time each morning. Weekends should replicate the weekly waking and sleeping times as well, where possible. Avoid long naps (greater than 30 mins) in the day as these impact the ability to fall asleep at a normal time.

Adjust Your Surroundings

The place one sleeps should be inviting. For many, this means some place cool, dark, and calm. Others benefit from a fan or other device to give a consistent, gentle background sound. Minimizing stimulating your senses through blocking out sounds, light, or other things that will prevent relaxation. This includes not using television, phones, computers, or radio when trying to fall asleep.

Prepare the Body

It is common to try to work or be active right up till it’s time to go to bed. However, this keeps the body on alert. Hormones are released to tell us when to rise, prepare us for proper function, and give appropriate arousal to best perform in our day.

These aspects of the “biological clock” are influenced by outside cues, like light, sound and other stimuli. It’s best to allow the body time to adjust away from this alert state. As the evening hours begin, dim or shut off lights within the house. If spending time on the computer shortly before bed, consider installing a program that removes blue light to lower stimulation. Do some relaxing activity before sleeping, like reading a book or taking a bath. Not only should work be avoided as you’re approaching bedtime, but also exercise or other activities that keep the body charged up.

Though going to bed hungry doesn’t promote quality sleep, neither does stuffing oneself. Be careful how much you consume leading up to the hours before bed.Also note that excessive fluids will likely cause the need to hit the bathroom at some point in your slumber. Caffeine, alcohol, some herbs, and nicotine can be stimulants that hinder a quick fall into a useful sleep cycle. These can take hours to get out of the system, so pay attention to when to stop ingesting them. Alcohol especially can make the sleep one gets poorer then it should as well.


A Thousand Invisible Mornings

January 13th, 2018 by Marie Dershem

This time of year, I often need a little inspiration to keep up (or start up) my training.

In the fall, the weather and beauty draws me outside to ride the lovely Michigan countryside.

In the spring, I am so eager to get back on my bike outside, I can hardly wait for clear roads and warmer temps.

In the summer, the sun and warmth, group rides and racing provide daily motivation to ride hard and long.

But, this time of year… especially those windy, gray days when there isn’t enough snow to get out and enjoy, the trainer becomes the best option.

Morning after morning after morning on the trainer can suck the motivation right out of you. With ever-improving technology making trainer rides more enjoyable, even the hardcore Zwifters have to long for a breath of fresh air.

A few days ago, my college roommate and rowing teammate sent me a photo that spoke to that deep motivation… that drive to use these cold months of indoor training to become the best athlete I can be. It is perfect. I hope it helps you get through until Michigan welcomes us back outside!


Detroit Cycling Championship Team Recap

September 16th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Terry Ritter

September 9th saw big time bicycle racing return to the Detroit area. The Detroit Athletic Club put on the inaugural Detroit Cycling Championship. This event had a large purse ($45K!), and drew both amateur and pro teams from around the Midwest region and our friends to the east, Canada.

The course was interesting as well, though rather challenging. Three of the main roads used ran the perimeter of Comerica Park, where the Tigers play Major League baseball. Between corners #2 and #3 was a pretty good downhill that generated speeds in excess of 30 mph. From here there was a short section between turns #4 and #5, then #5 and #6, and back onto the long, slight uphill straight. And, being inner streets of a major city, the patched pavement and utility covers were plentiful, with the worst examples of the former on the course’s fast decent. Add a quality prize list and the accomplished riders that show for such a draw, and you’ve got a technical race that was fast and strung out from the gun. Having frequent primes only ramped things up more.  Moving up and maintaining position was a challenge, especially since the opportunity to transit through the field of riders was muted by the speed, and dive-bombing corners was a common occurrence.

The ample purse meant a lot of new riders, and opportunities to have different race classes combined compared to the normal Michigan scene. This meant not only grouped category 3s and 4s races, but category 2s and 3s as well. There was also a full masters class. Ultimately, this left the racers on Team Athletic Mentors the opportunity to not only get a couple of events in, but to race with each other when we normally don’t get that chance.

Toeing the line in the combined Cat. 2/3 race was Terry Ritter, Rich Landgraff, Luke Cavender, Collin Snyder, Ross Williams, and Bobby Munro. Like all the races, this one was fast. Collin won a prime early on, then took a flyer to try to get away with three laps to go. However, there was too much horsepower for anything but a sprint finish.

Ross and Bobby were active in their Cat. 3 only race, with Ross attacking for a prime and then Bobby countering the next lap to try to get away. Great to see some tactical racing from our up-and-coming racers.

The Masters race was all three categories (35+, 45+, 55+), and it made for a large field but interesting dynamic. It wasn’t slow by any means (the 35+ group assured that), and there was a national champion kit in the mix as well. Richard, Peter O’Brien, and Terry doubled up (Peter was in the Cat. 3 Masters race earlier), with Jonathan Morgan joining the crew.

Elaine was our sole female Team Athletic Mentor rider and competed in the Cat. 3/4 race, as well as the Cat. P/1/2/3 race. Like the other races, the group was rarely grouped together, and the later race was especially fast. There were a few teams that were recognizable from the National Criterium Championship race earlier in the summer.  With this being Elaine’s first year of serious road racing (not to mention criteriums), she did very well and represented the team impressively.

The final event of the day was the Pro/1/2, slated for 80 mins. A lot of big regional teams were there and it was super fast. Dan Yankus, Collin, Peter Ehmann and Jonathan started. Many riders didn’t finish due to the pace. Eventually, a group of 5 got away, including two Bissell Pro riders, that lapped the field. Then, with about 10 laps to go, there was a crash that left a few riders in need of medical attention and the race was halted, only to restart after the break with a fast conclusion. With a $200 prime on the second to last lap, the pace was high…until the group passed the first corner as the last lap bell was ringing. Bissell slowed a bit around corner #2, with Daniel taking advantage and shooting up near the front on the outside. Unfortunately, a number of riders dive bombed the inside corner, pushing Daniel and the Bissell train towards the outside and into the barriers, causing a crash. Fortunately, no one was hurt too badly and the race finished on that lap. Collin came home with 30th on the evening.

Not getting enough racing for the weekend, Bobby, Daniel, Collin, Terry and Ross headed to Uncle John’s 56 mile gravel race north of Lansing on Sunday. Glen Dik joined the mix. The team was active early, with Daniel finishing fourth out of the small break that got away from the rest of the field. Collin got 6th overall and Terry came in 13th, and 3rd in the 47-51 age group. Elaine and JoAnn Cranson competed in the women’s 24 mile race as well.

There are rumors that next season the Detroit Criterium Championship will be earlier in the season and hopefully on the national cycling calendar. With the positive support and great organization of this year’s inaugural event, there’s little doubt this can grow bigger and better, showcasing the renewal of our great city.


Comebacks, Low-Carb, and that Little Race Up North

August 28th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

-By Terry Ritter

Back on May 13th of this year, during the first lap of the inaugural Port City Criterium, I took off after a break and rolled my tire in the fast downhill corner. I was able to scrub off some speed but this tumble at 30 mph left me with a hairline fracture in my left scapula and a right one in four pieces. For good measure, I also compressed three vertebrae and broke two ribs. Though not needing surgery was a good outcome, I was worried right away that I might not be ready for my favorite mountain bike race, Ore to Shore. I’ve faithfully competed in 17 of the 19 editions.

My shoulders have been deteriorating for years and I have been less than optimal on keeping up on the exercises needed so they stay MTB functional. That meant in the 2016 O2S my shoulders got the best of me and I completely came apart with ten miles to go, getting dropped from my group in a new single track section. I feared the same thing for this season. However, I was diligent with my recovery and physical therapy, pushed myself to get back on the bike and race as soon as I could (week 6 post crash), and hoped for the best.

One thing that didn’t need more confirmation was how switching to a lower carbohydrate diet had left me less need to consume nutrients during an event or ride. Two winters ago I did an experiment with Cricket and Mark of Athletic Mentors, doing metabolic testing (VO2 Max and Aerobic Threshold) work to see how doing a ketogenic diet (very low-carb) would impact my cycling. More specifically, I wondered how it would increase my fat burning, which it improved greatly. However, at least in the 4 month experiment we used, I lost a significant enough ability to do work anaerobically (short term power) that I had to bring some sugars back into my diet to be effective with a number plate on my bike.

What else was it like being a ketogenic athlete (also called “fat adapted”)? Well, our bodies burn glucose if it’s in our diet significantly, and that’s the case for most. For this reason, the brain and nerves are committed to using glucose. When it’s too low, we bonk. But, the hallmark of a ketogenic adaptation is to give the brain and nerves another fuel, one the muscles and other organs happily burn as well: ketone bodies. And the liver can make these all day from our own fat stores. This allowed me, at least for those 4 months, to totally disconnect my eating and working out. I did 1800-2000 kcal workouts and hadn’t eaten in 6-8 hours, something I could never have dreamed of in my past high carb. life.

When I did reintroduce carbs. during the race season,  I cut them back significantly from the “aerobic athletes needs carbs. for fuel” mantra I’d heard for decades. And, my power came back. However, I also noticed a significant reduction in what I needed to take in to race well during an event. My daily dietary carbs. through the season typically run 200g or less, depending on training days, many days 100 or less.

How does this math workout in a race? A calorie is just another unit of work, so a power meter, which measures kilojoules very accurately, can determine this value within a few percentage points. The 91 mile Cherry Roubaix took about 3100 kcals to complete. I did have a reasonable breakfast, but only had to take about 600 kcals in during the ride. The Ore to Shore was likely in the 2500 kcal range for work, but I only consumed about 400 kcals during the event…and didn’t finish either effort with any signs of hunger.

The net result is I have learned I don’t need to consume what now looks to be ridiculous levels of carbohydrates to able to perform well. Going this route has enhanced my fat burning ability, meaning I can use my own body stores, a good thing for other reasons besides athletic performance. And, though this is an entirely different topic, I believe it’s much healthier to consume fewer carbs., likely as little as we can. So, this bodes well with where I want my health to go.

The futile attempt to remove the special “mud” that exists at times in the Marquette area. We had some pretty substantial water on the course this year, creating rust colored puddles filled with iron particles. I have to give it a try, though, and now this kit will serve as attire for all O2S races in the near future.

Oh, and how’d the Ore to Shore end up? Well, I was just hoping to get to that place 10 miles before the finish still able to race the race. Darn if all that physical therapy didn’t do the trick and I was able to hang with the top 3 guys (and gal, as the lead women raced with us) as they attacked our group of 15 and made a separation. I was able to push all the way to the finish. This was good enough to squeak in 54th overall. Now, all I have to do is find the motivation to keep these shoulders stronger without rolling around on the pavement as motivation.

 



SPONSORSView All


 
Team Athletic Mentors
© 2019 - Team Athletic Mentors